Institutes of Engaged Leadership
During the first year of the leadership program, Scholars attend our Institutes of Engaged Leadership in locations across Canada and the world. These weeklong events are the setting for learning sessions led by Fellows and Mentors, and for community building among Scholars, Fellows and Mentors.
Organization of the Impact Conference
Building on the experience and leadership training received in year one, Scholars collectively organize a public conference during their second year, to share knowledge with the general public and foster community dialogue on key societal issues. They receive guidance and support from Fellows and Mentors.
Presentation of the Impact Conference
Scholars hold their conference event in the third and final year of the leadership program. The Impact Conference is an opportunity to experiment with a diverse range of knowledge dissemination practices and creative formats, in an effort to democratize knowledge and improve social inclusion.
Your benefits

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholars receive:

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholars receive:

  • Membership in a vibrant community of Scholars, Mentors, and Fellows, all of whom are leaders in their respective disciplines and sectors 

  • Leadership training from our Mentors and Fellows, including unique experiential learning opportunities that enrich and complement their academic experience  

  • Opportunities to acquire greater proficiency in Canada’s official languages (French and English) as well as Indigenous languages 

  • Up to $40,000 per year for three years to cover tuition and reasonable living expenses  

  • Up to $20,000 per year for three years, as a research, networking, and travel allowance. This funding may also be used for activities related to the learning of languages (see below) 

  • Lifelong membership in the Foundation’s alumni network. 

Your commitment

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholars must:

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholars must:

  • Engage in Foundation in-person and digital events, including custom-designed Institutes of Engaged Leadership and Retreats during the first year of their term. NOTE: Due to the situation stemming from COVID-19, the format of forthcoming events will be adapted in accordance with national and local restrictions. Some small in-person gatherings may take place, if conditions allow. Otherwise, the Foundation will continue to engage its community through digital events. 

  • Collectively organize a conference event (Impact Conference) during the second year of the leadership program and present this conference during the third year 

  • Serve their communities as volunteers: Outside Foundation programming, active Scholars are expected to perform 30 hours of volunteer service or community initiatives each year and report on these activities to the Foundation. The Foundation takes a broad interpretation on volunteerism, particularly within the context of COVID-19.  

  • If they are not fluently bilingual in both of Canada’s Official Languages (French and English), take steps, through formal or informal training, to improve their proficiency in the Official Language with which they are less familiar. Scholars also commit to becoming more familiar with Canada’s Indigenous Languages through the leadership program. 

Languages learning

Opportunities to acquire greater proficiency in Canada’s languages 

Opportunities to acquire greater proficiency in Canada’s languages 

The Foundation recognizes that knowledge of multiple languages is a hallmark of leaders, academics, public intellectuals, and innovative thinkers, and is a strength and advantage both professionally and personally. Possessing an understanding of Canada's Official Languages (French and English) enhances Scholars' experience within the multilingual context of the Foundation's events, as well as offers a greater understanding of Canada. The Foundation further recognizes the past exclusion of Indigenous Languages from much of Canadian academe and wishes to support Indigenous Languages as an integral part of Canada’s historic and future development.  

All Scholars who are not fluently bilingual in both Official Languages (French and English) are expected to take steps through formal or informal training to improve their proficiency in the Official Language with which they are less familiar. Following their nomination, Scholars will be also provided with opportunities to familiarize themselves with one or more Indigenous Languages through Foundation-led activities, and optional opportunities to pursue more intensive training in an Indigenous Language. Scholars will be asked to develop and provide Study Plans for their additional language study.  

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Scholarships

 

ABOUT ELIGIBILITY 

 

Which disciplines does the Foundation consider to be social sciences and humanities?  

The Foundation recognizes that many doctoral students are working on research projects that are interdisciplinary and qualify as advanced research in the social sciences and humanities, regardless of their faculty or department affiliation. In general, to qualify as research in the social sciences and humanities, a candidate’s research should seek “to add to our understanding and knowledge of individuals, groups and societies—what we think, how we live, and how we interact with each other and the world around us” (SSHRC 2017).  

That said, applicants are eligible if their research is related to one or more of the Foundation’s Four Themes: Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, and People and their Natural Environment. The Foundation will not assess the eligibility of individuals' research topics by email or over the phone. 

 

Does my research project have to be linked to the Four Themes of the Foundation? 

Yes. You must link your research to one or more of the Foundation’s Four Themes in order to be considered for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship. These themes are: Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, and People in their Natural Environment. Learn more about the Four Themes.  

Please note the Four Themes are distinct from the themes of our Scientific Cycles. While Scholarship candidates must relate their research to one of the Four Themes, they need not relate it to the theme of a given Scientific Cycle, nor do they need to have expertise with on the theme of a Scientific Cycle.  

 

Can I apply if I am studying part-time for my doctoral degree? 

Only students studying full-time in a doctoral program are eligible to receive a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship.  

 

Are applications from non-Canadian students accepted?  

Non-Canadian students who have been accepted or are in year one, two, or three of a full-time program in the social sciences or humanities at a Canadian university are eligible. The selection criteria are the same as for any other student. 

 

Are Canadians studying at a non-Canadian university eligible?  

Yes. Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarships can be awarded to Canadians studying at a foreign university.  

 

Am I eligible to apply for a Scholarship if I am already enrolled in a doctoral program?  

Yes, you are eligible if you are in year one, two, or three of a full-time doctoral program in the social sciences or humanities (broadly defined).  

 

Am I eligible to apply for a Scholarship if I have applied, or will apply, to a doctoral program but have not started it yet?  

To be eligible for the Scholarship, you must be already accepted into a full-time doctoral program. If you have not yet been accepted into a full-time doctoral program in time for this year's competition, we invite you to apply next year once you have been accepted.  

 

Is there an age limit?  

No. The Foundation prioritizes young researchers at the beginning of their professional careers and will also consider special circumstances that may have influenced a candidate’s academic and professional career paths. 

 

Is there a grade requirement? 

Applicants must provide evidence of their strong academic performance and intellectual capacity. We will look for evidence of this throughout your application, including in transcripts and referrals. 

That said, keep in mind that “Academic excellence and intellectual capacity” is not the only one of our selection criteria, along with the willingness to engage with a plurality of perspectives, leadership and engagement, and agility and resilience. For more details on the criteria and what we are looking for, please see the Become a Scholar page. 

 

Do I need to be fluent in both English and French to receive the Scholarship? 

No, you do not need to be fluent in both official languages to receive the Scholarship. However, all Scholars who are not fluently bilingual in both Official Languages (English and French) are expected to take steps through formal or informal training to improve their proficiency in the Official Language with which they are less familiar. Scholars will be asked to develop and provide study plans for their additional language study. Scholars are also expected to familiarize themselves with Indigenous Languages through the Foundation’s programming and are eligible for support (through the annual research and travel allowance) for independent training in Indigenous Languages. 

 

APPLICATION PROCESS 

 

What is the deadline for application to the competition?  

The 2021 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Scholarship Competition opened on 27 October 2020. Candidates must now apply directly to the Foundation through its online application portal. The final deadline to submit applications to the Foundation is 5 January 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  

 

Do I need to let my university know that I want to apply? 

No, although your university may ask you to let them know that you are applying, that you have applied, or that you have been shortlisted in the selection process. In contrast with previous years, the Foundation no longer requires that applicants be officially nominated by their university to be considered for the Scholarship. All eligible candidates who submit completed applications by the January 5th, 2021 deadline will be reviewed and assessed by the Foundation. 

 

Where can I find the application form? 

The application form can be found by registering with and logging into the Foundation’s application portal at the following link: http://fdnpetf.smartsimple.ca

 

Can I send my own application directly to the Foundation?  

Yes. Starting with the 2021 Competition, the Foundation is accepting applications directly through its new portal.

In contrast with previous years, universities are no longer required to hold an internal selection process and nominate a limited number of their preferred candidates. The Foundation will be reviewing all completed applications it receives by the final deadline.  

 

How do I apply?  

First, go to the Foundation’s new application portal. On the landing page of the portal, you may toggle the page in either English or French, which will also change the language of the application form.  

If you are not already registered on the Foundation’s new platform, you must register by clicking “Register here” and completing the eligibility criteria questions and ensuing registration information. Once complete, you will receive an email with a link to set up your username and password. The email should arrive within five minutes. If you do not receive this email, please refresh your inbox, and check your spam folder.  

Once you have logged in, you will be brought your personal Dashboard on the Foundation’s portal. You may return to your Dashboard at any time during the process by clicking on “Home” in the top right corner of your window. 

Once within the portal, please complete the mandatory questions in your Profile. If you are selected by the Foundation, you will be asked to complete the other sections of your Profile. To exit your Profile, click Next or return to your Dashboard. 

To begin an application form for the 2021 Scholarship competition, click on “Funding Opportunities” and then “Apply Now”.  

You can save a draft of your application and return to it from now until January 5th, 2021 at 11 :59 p.m. EST.  

Please make sure to click ”Submit” once you have completed your application, uploaded your transcripts and received notifications that your referees submitted their referral form. 

All eligible candidates who submit a completed application by January 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST will go through a rigorous selection process. Shortlisted candidates (round one) will be contacted in February 2021 and invited to group interviews. Finalists (round two) will be invited to individual interviews in March 2021.  

 

 How do I know when my file is complete and ready for submission?  

  1. You have completed an application form (minimum requirement is completing all mandatory questions).  
  2. You have received notifications that both your referees submitted their referral form.  
  3. You uploaded your transcripts. 

You are ready to submit your application! 

 

How do I know if my application was submitted?  

You will receive a confirmation email with your application in PDF.  

In addition, in your personal Dashboard on the portal, one application should be listed as “Submitted” under “Applications”. 

 

Which transcripts should be submitted?  

Please upload transcripts covering your entire post-secondary education in one PDF document. Candidates who attended CEGEP in Quebec should not include their CEGEP transcripts. Official transcripts are not required for your application, but you may be asked to provide official copies if your application is successful. 

 

Does the Foundation provide a format for reference letters?  

This year, references are asked to complete a predetermined referral form, which includes both a narrative referral as well as a numerical evaluation of the candidate against the selection criteria.  

We are no longer asking referees to upload their reference letter in PDF format on our portal. The referral forms must be completed by the referee on the application portal.  

The Foundation may contact referees for additional information and confirmation.  

 

Is it okay if both my referrals are written by an academic? 

The Foundation is seeking candidates whose experience, abilities or potential go beyond the academic world and our selection criteria reflect this. The reference letter should focus on skills, abilities, and potential. However, if you feel that the person who is best placed to attest to this happens to also work in an academic setting, you may ask that person for a reference. Please ensure that your reference understands what the Foundation expects from its references.  

 

Will I be notified about the status of my application?  

Once your application is fully submitted, you will receive a confirmation email. Afterwards, only applicants selected as semi-finalists are notified of the status of their application. 

If you are selected as a semi-finalist, you will be invited to participate in online group interviews via videoconference. These interviews are an opportunity for semi-finalists to connect with one another, meet the Foundation staff, and gain a better understanding of the Foundation and its leadership development program. Candidates selected for semi-final interviews will be contacted by February 10, 2021 for group interviews which will take place between February 23-25, 2021.  

After semi-final interviews, outstanding semi-finalists will be invited to national interviews which will be held from March 24-26, 2021 with members of the Application and Nomination Review Committee (ANRC). 

 

ABOUT THE SELECTION AND INTERVIEW PROCESS 

 

What language is used during the interviews?  

The interviews will be held in English or French, or in both official languages of Canada, depending on the language skills and preferences of the candidate.  

 

What is the anticipated timeline for the selection process?  

Please see the “2021 competition key dates” on the Become a Scholar page. 

 

ABOUT THE SCHOLARSHIP AND LEADERSHIP PROGRAM 

 

Does the Foundation offer Scholarships other than at the doctoral level?  

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship program is for students at the doctoral level only. The Foundation does not offer funding for undergraduate or master's programs. 

 

Is the Scholarship valid for three or four years?  

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship is a three-year program (with no possibilities of extension) and Scholars must be involved for the three years in the learning program of the Scholarship. 

 

What does the Scholarship cover?  

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholars receive: 

  • Tailored leadership training from our Fellows and Mentors, for each cohort of Scholars, notably in the context of our Institutes of Engaged Leadership   
  • Opportunities to acquire greater proficiency in Canada’s official languages (French and English) as well as Indigenous languages using the annual research, networking and travel allowance for Scholars. 
  • Up to $40,000 per year for three years to cover tuition and reasonable living expenses. 
  • Up to $20,000 per year for three years, as a research, networking, and travel allowance 
  • Membership in a vibrant community of Scholars, Mentors, and Fellows, all of whom are leaders in their respective disciplines and sectors, and lifelong membership in the Foundation’s alumni network. 

 

What is the Scientific Cycle beginning in 2021?  

The theme of our 2021-2024 Scientific Cycle will be Language, Culture & Identity. This theme will contextualize the leadership training offered to the 2021 cohort of Scholars. Please note that Scholars’ studies need not be directly related to this theme; Scholars are not selected based on their expertise with respect to the theme of the Scientific Cycle, but rather their interest and capacity to embark on this leadership journey within this context. This innovative model aims to help Scholars look beyond their areas 

of expertise and develop their engagement with issues and ideas that are not necessarily part of their academic training. 

 

For more information on the theme of 2021-2014 Scientific Cycle, please consult the Scientific Cycles page.  

 

What is meant by Brave Spaces

Through its community events (in-person and virtual gatherings), the Foundation creates Brave Spaces where a multiplicity of ideas may be expressed and debated in an open and welcoming fashion, while respecting diversity of all forms. These Brave Spaces are accountable and democratic, valuing difference and expecting that participants share their experience and come to new understanding. Under this conception of dialogue and collaboration between diverse forms of knowledge and lived experiences, one accepts to take risks as one chooses the path that may bring greater discomfort but, at the same time, may prompt creativity, freedom, and greater understanding. 

This commitment to Brave Spaces, privileging robust debates while offering a safety net of policy, empathy circles, and mutual respect, recognizes that challenging and sometimes uncomfortable discussions are important steps on the road to becoming an Engaged Leader. 

Learn more about the Foundation’s approach to Brave Spaces

 

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, what happens with programming events such as the Institutes of Engaged Leadership?  

Within the context of the pandemic, the format for the Foundation’s forthcoming events is being adapted in accordance with national and local restrictions. Some small, local, in-person gatherings may take place, if conditions allow. Otherwise, the Foundation will continue to engage its community primarily through digital events via a videoconferencing platform. Learn more about changes to our programming here

 

If I am selected as a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Scholar, may I accept other awards? Does the Foundation have a policy on the cumulation of awards?  

Yes, Scholars may receive multiple awards and accumulation is permitted to a certain extent. In accordance with the Foundation’s Policy on Scholarships and the Cumulation of Awards, “External Awards include any and all awards carrying a monetary value with the stated intention to cover any combination of student fees, tuition, and/or living expenses”. This policy states that the first $20,000 of the $40,000 annual stipend is guaranteed to all Scholars. For those who receive multiple awards, the Foundation reduces the amount of the remaining stipend in accordance with the value of the award to a minimum of $20,000 a year. For illustration purposes: 

  • A Scholar who receives an external award of $20,000 or less a year would qualify for $40,000 a year  
  • A Scholar who receives an external award of $35,000 a year would qualify for $25,000 a year. 
  • A Scholar with external awards of $50,000 or more a year would receive $20,000 a year. 

Upon being nominated and on a regular basis during their tenure, Scholars must offer a full and forthright accounting of any external funding they receive.  

The Foundation does not differentiate whether the Scholar is studying abroad or in Canada. For a Scholar studying abroad and receiving an external award in a non-Canadian currency, the Foundation converts this funding in Canadian dollars to establish the amount of this external award. 

 

Can I work if I hold a Scholarship with the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation?  

Yes, Scholars may work part-time and continue to fully benefit from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship. That includes work on campus as research assistants, teacher assistants, lecturers and other on-campus, academic, part-time roles.  

What happens if I need to take a leave of absence from my studies (e.g. parental leave, professional leave, etc.)?  

The commitments we ask of our Scholars are part of a specific three-year path within a specific cohort. But we understand that life happens! Foundation Scholars may pause their Scholarship for parental, medical, personal, or professional leave for a maximum of one year, notably in circumstances where they are temporarily not a registered full-time doctoral student.  

The funds are put on hold until the Scholar returns to their university and is once again registered as a full-time doctoral student. The Foundation considers each situation differently and may propose different options for Scholars to re-enter the leadership programming upon their return. 

 

If I am named a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar, what is the process for receiving the Scholarship funds?  

If selected by the ANRC and approved by the Board of Directors as a Scholar, and once you have signed your funding agreement and provided the supporting documentation, you will officially be eligible to begin receiving the Scholarship funding. The annual Scholarship is paid in three installments per year: 

  • 40% in August 

  • 30% in January 

  • 30% in May  

The annual travel allowance (ATA) for research, travel, and networking, is also paid in three installments per year, based on the estimated budgets and activity expense reports that you submit. Please note that you must use your ATA to cover your travel  expenses for Foundation events.  

 

More questions?  

You may consult the Foundation’s Strategic Plan 2019-2024 brochure

You may also signup for the Foundation’s information sessions via Zoom (or by dialing-in by phone) at the dates indicated below. These webinars will include simultaneous translation in English and French as well as ASL and LSQ sign interpretation. Please follow the links to register and obtain the connection details. 

  • Tuesday, 10 November 2020 at 2:30 p.m. EST – 1.5 hour session for university officials and award officers – Register here! 
  • Thursday, 12 November 2020 at 2:30 p.m. EST – 1.5 hour session for Scholarship candidates – Register here! 
  • Wednesday, 9 December 2020 at 11:00 a.m. EST – 1.5 hour session for university officials and award officers – Register here! 
  • Monday, 14 December 2020 at 11:00 a.m. EST – 1.5 hour session for Scholarship candidates – Register here!  
Information for active Scholars

Forms and policies

Activity report form (in effect as of 1 September 2018)

How to submit an expense claim on the portal

Travel policy (in effect as of 1 September 2018)

Other

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A three-year program designed to train Engaged Leaders, equipping outstanding doctoral candidates with the skills to translate their ideas into action, for the betterment of their communities, Canada, and the world.